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Posts Tagged ‘werewolves’

Halloween was my favorite holiday when I was a kid. I loved it more than Christmas. It was that cool time of year when the leaves would fall from the trees on windy evenings and the breeze still had a hint of warmth. I guess it also had to do with the fact that on Halloween night I could trick-or-treat and get CANDY, CANDY and more CANDY — especially since every other day of the year our parents warned us never to take candy from strangers. I loved dressing up and loved creating my perfect costume. When we were little, my Mom would make Halloween costumes for us. Here’s me and Tracy in the late ’60s:

“Help, I’ve lost my sheep! And my dignity.”

In later years, Mom would sometimes buy us costumes from the store — probably K-Mart, and most likely a Blue Light Special. Little girls in the late ’60s and early ’70s had about two costume choices: nurse or witch. I chose the nurse. There were little candy pills that came in the little plastic nurse’s bag. Hand-me-downs were also a part of Halloween: Coleen and Melissa would be wearing those Little Bo Peep costumes a few years later.

Once I became a lot older (at least 9 or 10), I would pride myself in making my own costume. I wasn’t your typical girly-girl who wanted to be a Princess or Fairy or Bride for Halloween. I was immensely proud of a Bum costume I designed once. I used a pair of my Dad’s old pants, an old shirt and tie, and a sailor’s hat. Hmm. Apparently I was a bum from some ’40s Hollywood movie. I rubbed used coffee grounds all over my face to resemble a five-o’clock shadow. “Brother, can you spare a dime? Or a Snickers?”

When I was in elementary school, there was a super dry spell in Halloween festivities for children in the San Francisco Bay Area. There was a crazy serial killer named the Zodiac on the loose. During those Zodiac Years, no trick-or-treating was allowed in Vallejo. I hated the Zodiac. I was too young to understand what was going on — all I knew was some crazy person had ruined my favorite holiday. Of course if Halloween fell on a Saturday night, we could have our own party around the TV when this Bay Area classic came on:

“Creature Features” was an awesome horror movie show that played on Saturday nights. There was a cool, somewhat weird, host named Bob Wilkins and he would talk about the scary movies they were playing that night. These were usually “B” movies (maybe “C”) that aspired to be as bad as movies like “War of the Gargantuas” or “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.” You probably noticed Bob in that opening clip, wearing his Buddy Holly glasses and puffing on a big cigar. In hindsight, I bet that thing was full of weed, because he was just way too mellow. I know you’re gonna click on that again just to hear that awesome, funky ’70s theme song.

Anyway, during the Zodiac Years, all kids were banned from the streets and had to go to school cafeterias or community centers to celebrate Halloween. Trick-or-treating around a cafeteria just isn’t the same once you’ve experienced the real thing outdoors, especially when that nasty corn smell is still lingering in the cafeteria air from lunch time.

We’d parade around the cafeteria in our costumes getting candy and snacks. Oh, and there was bobbing for apples, or as I like to call it, “Hello, Hepatitis!” What were those adults thinking? Hey guys, let’s grab a huge, rusty pail from the backyard scrap pile, fill it with water from the hose and throw some apples in it. Then let’s have the kids dress up like dorks with crazy makeup all over their face, run around the block begging the neighbors for candy in the cold, then drag them and their runny noses over to the big, rusty water pail full of apples and stick their faces in it. Then let’s have them bite at the apples with their candy-corroded teeth long enough so that all their spit mixes together in the water. If one of them actually snags an apple in their teeth, they WIN!! They win an APPLE!!

Even as a kid I knew there was something terribly wrong with bobbing for apples. But there were also other dangers lurking around in Halloween goodies. My Dad made us well aware of the potential razor blade or cherry bomb or “drug injected by needle” that just might be hiding in our mini Three Musketeers bar. When we got home from trick-or treating during the Non-Zodiac Years, we had to line up and pass our bags over to Dad for official inspection. Dad would check for pin holes and the like in our candy wrappers. Many times he would have to taste test our candy to be sure they were safe for us. He had to taste test A LOT of our candy. Well, he didn’t want a cherry bomb to blow our cheek off.

One time I didn’t listen to my Mom and Dad’s lecture telling us not to eat candy at night and I snuck lots of candy from my trick-or-treat bag right before bed, and proceeded to eat most of it. That night, I had the dreaded “eating-candy-before-bedtime nightmare.” About werewolves. Dancing werewolves. If you missed that post, click here, or here (I tend to write about those werewolves quite a bit, apparently).

I don’t eat candy before bed any more. And I sleep with a gun loaded with silver bullets.

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“Skittles” by Ozzy Delaney is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Candy. Who invented candy? I imagine a million people could take credit for it — all the way back to cavemen climbing trees to get honey out of beehives — but I think it was drug dealers. Candy is children’s crack. When I was a kid, my vice was Skittles. Skittles … sounds like some type of withdrawal. “Damn dude, I’ve got some serious Skittles!” or “Get him to the hospital, can’t you see he’s Skittlin??!” In the ’70s, my sisters and I would haul empty RC cola bottles in a little red wagon up to the corner market to get our candy fix. That’s when a bag of Skittles cost 10 cents. Today, I think a bag is about 34 dollars. I just loved every single color of Skittles, and every single flavor. I could literally taste the rainbow. I had other sweet, colorful  favorites back then, too: Wacky Wafers, Bottle Caps, Zotz, Spree. And chocolate, too, of course: Charleston Chews, Oompas, Snickers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups — back when Reese’s had an actual peanut-buttery filling, not the chalky stuff they’re filled with today. Oh, but I still love them.

Obviously Halloween was my favorite holiday when I was a kid. Dressing up in a fun disguise to get free candy from every single neighbor for miles. I always imagined I’d save my Halloween candy for the whole year. Right. It was long gone by Thanksgiving, most of it devoured on Halloween night. My parents would always tell us not to eat candy before we went to bed, or we’d have nightmares. Probably like people on acid having hallucinations. So why on Earth my parents let us take our Halloween loot into our bedrooms, I’ll never know. And oh sure, I didn’t touch it like they told me not to. Right. I must’ve ingested 23,070 calories worth of Skittles, Snickers, Reese’s, Jujubees and Milk Duds before 9:00 p.m. Halloween night 1972. The resulting hallucinatory dream followed:  there I was, in the dark on our back porch staring into the black abyss of the backyard. Why I was outside in the dark staring into the wee corners of the backyard in this particular dream is beyond me. It felt like I stared into that deep hole of the yard for a long time until, wait … something was moving … something was … gulp … coming towards me! Wow, this dream was actually in color because I saw three werewolves, each stylishly dressed in short blue pants and yellow polo shirts, with red bandanas tied around their necks. They were arm in arm and skipping towards me ever so creepily. I was frozen. It’s hard to run in dreams anyways, so it’s a given I just stood there like a dumb-ass. They proceeded to dance around me and tie me up in rope until I screamed “MOMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!” and sprang out of my sweat-soaked sheets. Strangely, my Dad burst into the room. Usually Mom was the nightmare rescuer, as I assume my Dad was always sleeping soundly while my Mom was mending socks, writing up a grocery list and making a casserole while sleeping with one eye open. So my big, strong Dad, immediately provided relief when he burst in the door. He sat down on the bed while I sobbed and poured out the details of my horrific dream of metro werewolves. He tried to hide his laughter (though not very well I might add, Dad) and tucked me back in and told me it was just a nightmare and to go back to sleep. Go back to sleep?!! Are you high?? I saw werewolf shadows all over my room the rest of the night.

Okay, thinking back maybe I really didn’t see werewolf shadows, but I’ve seen the Tooth Fairy. For real. I was about 9 years old. My cousin Lori was spending the night, so she was in my twin bed and I got the floor. I didn’t care because Lori was pretty and had brand new red and white pajamas that I was in love with. See I always had hand-me-downs, so I thought those things were the cat’s pajamas. Thank you, I’ll be here all week. I had lost a tooth that day and obviously had stuck it under my pillow. It was a front tooth, so I was anticipating a whopping 25 cents. I remember waking up and seeing something fluttering near my pillow. It wasn’t a werewolf … but a … uh … what is that? An angel? Monster? Big pile of empty Skittles wrappers? Holy cow, it was a big freakin’ psychedelic butterfly!! I closed my eyes just enough to squint so it would think I was still asleep. That butterfly was as big as my head and was every color of the rainbow. It was just hovering there, all tooth-fairy-like. Then it swooped down towards my pillow, fluttered back by my face a little, and off it went. I followed its path to the bedroom door where I saw my Mom standing, looking at me with her head cocked to the side. She was probably contemplating checking me in to the Betty Ford Center, but I swear till this day that I saw the beautiful Tooth Fairy and she took my tooth up into the sky where I still see it shining like a bright star till this day. Wait … maybe that’s a satellite.

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Mary Ann was big on dessert. Even with our limited budget, we could usually count on something sweet after dinner, even if it was orange-colored jello with canned mandarin oranges swimming around in it. If it was Payday Week, that jello might be a fancy Jello 1-2-3 concoction. Jello 1-2-3 was a sophisticated dessert that consisted of a layer of jello, with a layer of half jello and half whipped cream on top of that, then finished off with a layer of whipped cream. My Mom would create separate little Jello 1-2-3’s in fancy glasses that she’d tip and rest on the wall of the refrigerator while the jello layers set so they would be diagonally delicious.

But you had to clean your plate in order to get dessert. And hopefully dinner wasn’t too late, because she wouldn’t give us sweets too close to bedtime. That would cause nightmares. And we had to be careful what we watched on TV or what we read before bedtime. So Mom had a big book of Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes that she’d read to us when we were little. Sounds sweet, doesn’t it? Guess again. That thing did more damage than three servings of Jello 1-2-3 eaten after 9 p.m. C’mon, just look at this woman … scary!

I’m convinced that the parents of serial killers read their children beddie-bye stories every night when they were little, consisting of fairy tales, nursery rhymes and other messed-up fable-type crap. C’mon, these fairly tales weren’t about fairies. They were about scary monsters, wicked witches and blood-thirsty wolves. Crack open one of those classic tales for the kiddies, fill their heads full of terror, then turn out the lights and shut the door. Sweet dreams sweet pea!!

If you don’t believe me, let me remind you of these classic fairy tales and fables:

1. Hansel and Gretel: Witch kidnaps children, witch prepares to eat children, children throw witch in fire.
2. Little Red Riding Hood: Wolf dresses up as Grandma, wolf eats little girl.
3. Peter and the Wolf: Wolf threatens little boy, wolf eats duck. Poor Sonia.
4. The Boy Who Cried Wolf: Little boy fakes wolf attack, little boy fakes wolf attack, little boy fakes wolf attack. Wolf gets sick of being falsely accused and eats little boy for dinner with some fava beans.

Resulting nightmare: My little sister Coleen being eaten by a giant wolf in our backyard.

Secondary nightmare: Three werewolves wearing polo shirts and shorts tying me up in the backyard. Luckily I wake up screaming before they eat me. Phew. Wait, this one could be the result of too many Saturday night viewings of “Creature Features.

5. Snow White: Witch gives girl poisoned apple; girls goes into a coma.
6. Jack and the Beanstalk: Giant terrifies little boy. Boy goes into a coma, or gets eaten or thrown in an oven. I can’t remember.

Nursery rhymes were no picnic either:

London bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down
London bridge is falling down, my fair lady
Take the key and lock her up, lock her up, lock her up.
Take the key and lock her up, my fair lady.

I guess London Bridge was always in a state of disrepair and constantly being rebuilt? Who knows. I don’t even think the lyrics above are correct — that’s just the way we learned them when we were little. Though I did always wonder, why were they locking HER up? I thought they should’ve locked up my next-door-neighbor/best friend Randy for being such a brat.

Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of posies,
Ashes, ashes, we all fall DOWN!

I don’t know how many times all of us kids held hands and danced around in a circle singing this happy tune, oblivious to the fact that a pocket full of posies was supposedly intended to mask the smell of the Black Plague death surrounding us, and the ashes falling down were the result of cities and bodies burning around us … and then we DIE! Woo-hoo!! Ahh, good times.

Rock-a-bye baby in the tree top,
When the wind blows the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks the cradle will fall
And down will come baby, cradle and all.

Anyone have the number for Children’s Services?

Jack and Jill went up the hill,
To fetch a pail of water;
Jack fell down, and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

Wait, maybe someone should call 911 first. Then Children’s Services.

Go tell Aunt Rhodie, go tell Aunt Rhodie,
Go tell Aunt Rhodie the old grey goose is dead.

So much for Christmas dinner, kids.

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